Pilots union Balpa has called for additional support for employees in furlough similar to measures announced for the self-employed.

The union gave a “cautious” welcome the UK Government’s clarification on support for employees who are furloughed with no work.

But it said there should also be support for people forced onto reduced hours and pay that would mirror the protections for the self-employed.

Balpa said the initial outline of support being made available appeared to only be for people who had lost all work and pay.

The government has now provided clarification that workers who lose some, but not all, of their earnings will also be eligible.

“This is good news,” said Balpa, “However, it leaves the anomalous situation that employees have to be laid off work completely whereas many employers can usefully keep people working on reduced hours and this is vital to keep the economy moving.”

BALPA general secretary, Brian Strutton, said: “It’s pretty daft that employers have to lay off their staff with no work to qualify for government assistance when many would rather have at least some of their staff working on reduced hours.

“This would be better for them and for the economy but the government scheme incentivises employers to lay off staff. The scheme for the self-employed allows people to work and earn so the same should apply to employees.”